“Then I said to him, ‘What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?’ … Then he said, ‘These are the two anointed ones who stand by the Lord of the whole earth.’” -Zechariah 4: 11,14, ESV
“And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.” -Revelation 11:3-4, ESV
The more that I study the book of Revelation, the more I have been struck by how John’s images are almost exclusively based on Old Testament figures. Of course, this should not surprise us. Yet, in reading commentaries on the book of Revelation, I have been disappointed as to how many commentators gloss over the Old Testament allusions and do their own thing with the imagery.
This is an image where there is quite a bit of debate on both for New Testament scholars and for Old Testament scholars. Who exactly are these two witnesses? Obviously there is a lot of unpacking that needs to be done with any suggestion as neither the Old nor the New Testaments give us a conclusive answer. We know this, though, the witness that these two witnesses will offer is faithful, it is in the face of opposition, and those who oppose the witnesses will be cut down with fire. John opens the image up a little more by giving us the picture of the witnesses being killed and then raised three days later.
I will argue that this is imagery that refers to Christ. The two witnesses being Christ’s two natures. His testimony is true, it was done in constant opposition, and those that oppose him will find themselves tormented in the lake of fire. He was handed over to the powers of Satan, was killed on the cross, and the children of the serpent rejoiced. But, oh their party came to an abrupt end as the angel pronounced what I consider the most important words in any human language: “for He is raised, as he said.” On those words hang the hope of all Christians! If we do not have this statement, we have nothing!
What wonderful testimony and witness did God offer to us in his son? There could have been no better witness; the very word of God made flesh. Let us rejoice in the provision that God has given us, knowing how this provision is far more than we could ever hope for.